Inbox: Conventional Wisdom 

(The standard text is a letter from a reader. Italics are my response.)

Hi Jessica,

I read (again) this article about "age" in relation to screenwriting...

... and I have to admit it's pretty depressing.

I just turned 47 and am still working on that great idea.

You are very young and have your life ahead of you (forgive the clichés) and I am envious. But the bottom line is I don't want to "whine" about my age and all that rubbish.

Well, in the meantime, I am a younger girl fighting into what is basically a boys club, and as a girl who is used to being the only girl let into the boys club, I am getting pissed at the roadblocks. Aliena nobis, nostra plus aliis placent. I understand that ageism is an issue (and pride myself on writing films that feature some hefty roles for those actors who have the benefits of the years), but what we've got to do is look at what we do have going for us and use those attributes to be the best us we can be across the board instead of looking at what we don't have. Plus, seemingly non-related skills and experience can prepare one for new crafts, so don”™t discount life experience: Many things on this sweet planet are related.

You have faithfully answered my emails and I really appreciate that. I'm sure you are a busy person in LA but your responses show you are still a very nice caring person who is still a "person" and not a Hollywood/LA robot who only thinks of herself. I most definitely appreciate that. Please keep up your good work and I wish every success to your artistic efforts.

Note: being genuinely "nice" in this "biz" scores a zillion with me. (smile)

God bless you Jessica.

- Your friend in screenwriting...


The essence of masterful writing derives from what you know about life, and what you know about life will trump flat information and theory in any craft any day of the week: Those are the basic tools that make one wise, and are adaptable to every instance, every discipline. Even in a short-sighted industry such as ours I have to believe that wisdom eventually prevails once technique and skill are mastered. So again, keep your eye on the ball (my favorite cliché) and dare to question the conventional wisdom, what is generally believed, by being the best version of you; by traveling with what you Know to be true. Even when that way is the harder way. Augescunt aliae gentes, aliae minuuntur; inque brevi spatio mutantur saecia animantum et quasi cursores vitae lampada tradunt.

*Latin attributed to the playwright Syrus and the poet Lucretius, respectively.

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